While it seemed it would be yet another joyous day to commemorate and congratulate the graduating class of Spring 2015, Mother Nature had a little something up her sleeve. Family members and friends of the graduates spent a great majority of their time scurrying through the harsh wind and rain, all while trying to remain dry upon arriving into the Frederick C Hobdy Assembly Center.
The weather eventually subsided and changed for the better, but the only thing on everyone’s mind was the graduates. Countless nights with no sleep, study sessions, and hours spent in front of computers all played a hand in those graduating, for they had dedicated a lot, and now was the time for their hard work to pay off.
Opening the event was the national anthem sung by the university choir, followed by the singing of the African American National Anthem “Lift Every Voice And Sing.”
With a graduating class of over 500, there was one student, Alexia Grant, who maintained a 4.0 GPA during her undergraduate years at GSU and was selected as valedictorian.
While delivering her speech, Grant expressed to her fellow peers that the work had only just begun. Quoting a scripture from Colossians 3:23, Grant added that one should “work from your heart and soul, enjoying what you work for and the fruits of your labor.”
There were two honorary doctorate degrees that were awarded at the commencement ceremony, and one went to a familiar face and name to the African American race: Hank Aaron.
Born Henry Louis Aaron, Aaron is a retired American Major League Baseball right fielder. To record, Aaron has 757 home runs, 3,771 hits and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
Awarded the doctorate of humane letters, Aaron said that it was a great day for the graduates. Before he went to his seat he left one insightful piece to the graduating class telling them “no matter what you decide to do, remember one thing – when you do your job, do it so well that no one can come behind you and do the same.”
Guest speaker for the event was Congressman Ralph Abraham of Louisiana’s 5th District. Noticing the event would be a lengthy one due to the number of graduates, Congressman Abraham kept his speech to the graduates precise and to the point, noting that “the only way for evil to triumph is for good mean to do nothing” and that “the reward is worth the sacrifice.”
Following Congressman Abraham was the time everyone had been waiting for, the dispersing of the diplomas. Applause, cheers, screams and shouts were heard throughout the Assembly Center as each graduate’s name was called and he or she proceeded across the stage.
Closing the event was the Tiger Marching Band playing the school’s alma mater. Invited guests were able to greet and congratulate the graduates in the foyer.